Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy has reportedly turned down an appeal made by Seemandhra Congress MPs not to resign till February 21.
Close associates of Mr. Reddy contend that he has made up his mind not to stay in the office for a minute once the President Pranab Mukherjee refers the AP Reorganisation Bill to the Parliament in the next couple of days, though a number of Seemandhra Congress MPs have been persuading him to put it on hold till the end of the Parliament session.
“If you resign, it will be a setback to our fight against bifurcation of AP,” a two-time MP from Seemandhra is understood to have told Mr. Reddy on Sunday. The MPs feel that the Chief Minister should hold on and wait for developments in Parliament during the next 10 days. Their expectation is BJP, which is none too happy with the Bill in its present form, may at the last moment back out and use the opportunity to embarrass the Congress.
But sources in the Chief Minister’s camp contend that there was no change in his plans to resign. “The next three-four days are crucial for us,” a close aide of Mr. Reddy said adding that he wants the State Legislature, which commences its sitting from Monday to pass the vote-on-account budget by February 13.
A Minister from Seemandhra considered close to the Chief Minister told The Hindu on Sunday that Mr. Reddy was firm on resigning in next three days as it would not be proper for him to wait for the Parliament to pass the bifurcation Bill. It is also learnt that Mr. Kiran Reddy was non-committal about his plans on recommending dissolution of the Assembly to the Governor, when Seemandhra Congress Ministers and MPs met him with this suggestion.
Earlier, in an interview to Karan Thapar on CNN IBN too, Mr. Reddy said he was prepared for any eventuality, including resignation for his fight to keep the state united. “Resignation, power or Chief Minister’s post is not bigger to me than the will of the people, who want to be united,” a press release quoting Mr. Reddy in the interview released from his office said.
“Post does not bother me. I am not a permanent Chief Minister. I am the 16th Chief Minister here there will be a 17th, a 18th or 20th Chief Minister,” he added.
On resignation and talk of new party, Reddy said that he was not alone and one of the options before him was resignation. “We will discuss and take an appropriate step. There are 70—80 MLAs and MPs... All of us will discuss,” he said.